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Homesteading: cheapest "driveway" installation & Straw Bale Construction

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earthpal
Paris, KY

February 23, 2009
10:41 PM

Post #6180000

Hi. I am new to this site and looking for input for 10 acres I am purchasing and would like to live homestead fashion. Limited budget and would like help with ideas for cheap 1000ft "driveway" that my truck/two horse trailer could navigate. Gravel estimates come in at just over $6,000. Any ideas on cheaper way?
Also, I am interested in ecofriendly construction. Has anyone here used straw bale construction? Please let me know your thoughts on this. My home will be in central Kentucky. I noticed that "4peace" asked a similar question but no responses yet.
Thanks for any assistance, ideas, experiences to share on these topics.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 24, 2009
12:22 PM

Post #6182109

Before you surface the road, make sure a sound road bed is established. Primary concerns are the right curvature of the road bed and providing excellent drainage. Make sure any culverts needed are adequate for the pressure of the water flow. Once that is accomplished, your road bed will serve you for years to come needing little maintenance. Not really any good ideas for a feasible driveway surface. Ours is only 150 yards and we bit the bullet on the gravel. Crushed concrete is also available once the road bed is built. It works well on the surface as it does not wash and packs well. Were I redoing it today, the crushed (recycled) concrete would be my choice. I find our primary aggravation is leaves in the fall which block drainage. When the water can't flow, the road bed will wash so I spend ample time cleaning ditches. If maintained in that manner, it takes little time with the blade to keep it up.

I might suggest posting your request for strawbale construction over in the Sustainable Alternatives forum also? You will probably find some opinions over there. edited to add the link http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/gogreen/all/

Welcome to DG and good luck with your quest. pod

This message was edited Feb 24, 2009 6:28 AM

This message was edited Feb 24, 2009 6:32 AM
Jayryunen
Sapello, NM
(Zone 5b)

February 24, 2009
8:06 PM

Post #6184420

I've got friends who built strawbale. First order of business is to check and see if your area permits load-bearing or post & beam infill. Here it is only post & beam infill. Expensive. Also you get to spend a lot of time with inspectors with any alternative building technique for you area.

As admirable as it is, if $6000 is steep for you for the drive (and gravel is about as cheap as it gets), I'd suggest you rigorously investigate the cost of alternative building techniques, even if you do a lot of it yourself. It's often considerably higher than conventional {=0( ... very few of your secondary contractors (electrical, plumbing, etc) will have had experience working with it and that has an impact on their labor costs. Even just using rigid insulation in my pumphouse added to the labor/time costs.

It may be something to work towards rather than begin with.

msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

March 17, 2009
5:46 PM

Post #6280840

Earthpal, what city is Paris close to? I'm about halfway between Owensboro and Bowling Green.

I agree about a good road bed. Our drive is about 1,200'. We didn't have it compacted well enough before hauling in 5 loads of approximately 11,000 tons of gravel 7 years ago. The first 3 loads were larger rock (golf ball size or slightly bigger) followed by 2 loads of gravel half that size. That clay on our hilltop just sucked it in! Last year we had 4 more loads of gravel brought in. Still need another 4-5 loads, but it's better. We have an ongoing problem with weeds/hay growing up through the gravel, so have to spray it several times each summer. Our loads were about $180 each.
AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

March 17, 2009
11:30 PM

Post #6282247

About 3 years ago I paid the local gravel co. to bring out two truckloads & trailerloads of gravel and "tailgate" it over about 1.5 miles of rocky roads. I did no road preparation whatsoever but figured the $1500 it cost was cheaper than a new pickup. It has lasted just about until now, but most of it has been pressed into the clay by tires. It is best where I had them lay it on really thick. I know that if the roads had been graded & rounded ahead of time, I might have some really good roads now, but I didn't have the equipment or the money to hire that done. The limestone chunks are sticking up out of the gravel, and some of them are really pointed. It would also help if I could get some culverts installed in the muddy spots, not really an option.

The county rates our roads as category "F", meaning they don't intend to do anything about them, ever. I had planned to do it again every 3 years or so, and have it laid clear down my own driveway too, but now that AIG has taken all my money and given it to people who work much less hard than I do, I can't.
Jayryunen
Sapello, NM
(Zone 5b)

March 17, 2009
11:39 PM

Post #6282282

=o(
What a terminal drag...
fabricandmud
Chriesman, TX

March 18, 2009
4:16 PM

Post #6285186

HI, I remember that Mother Earth News had an article on hay bale homes about 25 yrs ago. You might want to question them and see if info is still available in their archives.

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